The U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered manufacturers of the heartburn and acid reflux medications Zantac and generic ranitidine to recall these drugs due to mounting evidence that they may cause cancer. According to the FDA, Zantac and ranitidine are contaminated with a chemical known as NDMA, which has been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers.
Patients who were prescribed Zantac by their doctors — or who used over-the-counter versions of Zantac or ranitidine — and have been diagnosed with cancer may qualify to file a lawsuit. For a free legal consultation, contact the lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend by calling toll-free at 1-866-806-8117 or by filling out our free case evaluation form on the right side of this page.
➢ What is the evidence linking Zantac and cancer?
In 2019, the FDA was informed of laboratory tests that found Zantac and generic ranitidine may be contaminated with a chemical known as NDMA (N-Nitrosodimethylamine). The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that NDMA is “probably carcinogenic” to humans. Although NDMA is found in low levels in food and water and is probably safe in low doses, the FDA announced that exposure at higher doses or for a prolonged period of time could cause Zantac and ranitidine users to develop cancer.
Based on these concerns, the FDA advised patients in September 2019 to stop using Zantac or ranitidine. The agency ordered additional tests to determine the extent to which these drugs may be contaminated with NDMA.
After tests confirmed the widespread contamination of Zantac and ranitidine with this carcinogenic chemical, the agency ordered all manufacturers to recall these drugs in April 2020. Major pharmacy chains in the U.S. – including Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, and others – also recalled Zantac and generic ranitidine due the potential cancer risk associated with these medications.
➢ What type of cancers are linked to Zantac and ranitidine?
The most common types of cancer associated with Zantac and ranitidine are bladder cancer, colorectal cancer, gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer, and stomach cancer.
Symptoms that a patient may have developed one of these gastrointestinal cancers may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody or tarry stools
- Weight loss
Patients who used Zantac or ranitidine may also be at risk of developing other types of cancer, including brain cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, small or large intestinal cancer, islet cell tumors, kidney cancer, leukemia, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, nasal cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and throat cancer.
➢ Are other heartburn drugs contaminated with NDMA?
So far, the FDA has not uncovered any evidence linking Nexium (esomeprazole), Pepcid (famotidine), Prevacid (lansoprazole), Prilosec (omeprazole), Tagamet (cimetidine) to an increased risk of cancer due to contamination with NDMA.
➢ Am I at risk of developing cancer from Zantac or ranitidine?
After learning that Zantac and ranitidine were contaminated with NDMA, the FDA issued a statement with information for patients about its findings.
According to tests conducted by the agency, the amount of NDMA found in Zantac and ranitidine tablets was 3,000-times higher than the acceptable level of exposure set by the agency. For patients who are ingesting older tablets, or who have taken these medications for an extended period of time, the risk of being diagnosed with cancer from Zantac or ranitidine may be even higher.
The FDA’s tests revealed that the amount of NDMA in Zantac and ranitidine increases the more time that these drugs are stored on shelves and the longer they are stored at above room temperature. This means that patients who use medications that were manufactured at an earlier date — or which have been in their home for months or years — may face an even higher cancer risk.
Because NDMA builds up in the body over time, the longer patients have been taking Zantac or ranitidine, the higher their risk of receiving a cancer diagnosis. Many Zantac and ranitidine users have been taking these drugs for years to control symptoms of heartburn, acid reflux, gastrointestinal reflux diseases (GERD), or other stomach and digestive conditions. For these patients, the risk of developing cancer from Zantac and ranitidine may be especially high compared to other users.
➢ Have any Zantac or ranitidine lawsuits been filed?
The first lawsuit against the manufacturers of Zantac and ranitidine was filed in California in September 2019, the same day that the agency warned the public about the cancerous side effects of these drugs. Shortly thereafter, another lawsuit was filed in Florida by a Zantac user who was diagnosed with cancer after years of taking the heartburn drug.
Since these lawsuits were filed, other patients who were diagnosed with cancer after taking Zantac or ranitidine have also taken legal action against drugmakers who sold these medications. Lawsuits filed against these drug companies have alleged that Zantac and ranitidine manufacturers failed to properly warn patients about the cancer risk from exposure to NDMA they could face from taking these drugs.
In addition to the numerous individual lawsuits filed against the manufacturers of Zantac and ranitidine, class action lawsuits have also been filed on behalf of patients who were diagnosed with cancer, or other individuals who used these heartburn medications. Many of the individual Zantac and ranitidine lawsuits filed against the makers of these drugs have been consolidated in a nationwide multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the state of Florida.
➢ Do I qualify to file a lawsuit?
If you or a loved one were prescribed Zantac to treat aciid reflux, heartburn, GERD, or other gastrointestinal disorders — or if you used over-the-counter Zantac or ranitidine — and were diagnosed with cancer, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation for your injuries. The first step in taking legal action is to speak with an experienced pharmaceutical liability attorney, who can advise you regarding your legal rights and walk you through the first steps in filing a claim.
For a free legal consultation with an attorney to find out if you quality to file a Zantac cancer lawsuit, contact the lawyers at Hissey, Mulderig & Friend by calling our toll-free hotline at 1-866-806-8117. You can also reach us by answering a few simple questions on our free case evaluation form located on the right side of this page. After submitting your information, one of our staff members will be in contact with you to get more information and schedule your free consultation with an attorney.